Norval BioBlitz

It is hard to believe it has already been almost three months since the rare-Norval BioBlitz. Before we slip into winter hibernation I want to bring you back to the warmth and exciting discovery that day.

As a recap, a BioBlitz is an event that attempts to count as many species as possible in a given area and timeframe. Scientists, naturalists, and community members work together for a day to inventory a property and contribute to biodiversity knowledge. On October 1st, Upper Canada College Norval Outdoor School and rare Charitable Research Reserve held a BioBlitz event with the goal of engaging community members and finding as many species as possible on the beautiful Norval property.

Osprey- Photo by Leslie Abram

Now back to the event! The event kicked off at 6:00 am, and early bird participants arrived bundled-up after the first frost of the year. Some of our early participants were lucky enough to hear a great horned owl and an eastern screech-owl. Other early morning sightings include deer, osprey and a coyote! As the day warmed up, so did our sightings! More and more people arrived to contribute their eyes, ears, expertise and enthusiasm.

Searching for Benthic Invertebrates- Photo by Jenna Quinn

The event brought over 185 people together, including over 30 species experts with participants travelling from all over Ontario to help us search the property. Together we were able to identify 526 species, with over 33 observers using the iNaturalist app that we used to track observations. We found mainly plants, insects, and fungi, including a deadly mushroom species!

The data collected at this event will contribute to the knowledge of species diversity at the Norval property as well as the nature selfie that was taken of Canada this year.

As a nature lover, one of the best parts of the day was hearing what participants said as they came back from Guided Sessions. I love hearing people exclaim their interest in nature, biology, and conservation. An important part of conservation is education, which I believe is one of the greatest outcomes of Community BioBlitz events. I watched people of all ages come back with smiles from ear to ear and I felt a lot of hope that these people would carry this enthusiasm for nature into their daily lives. One student form UCC was especially engaged at the event:

“What a great way to spend a Sunday – discovering all sorts of flora and fauna at Norval! Thank you to the experts for teaching me to identify and document many species of plants and animals that I saw on the land, in the sky and in the water. The Bioblitz was a fabulous experience. It was a great to be outside with friends and family learning about what makes this land so unique!” Stephen Stack – Year 8 – Upper Canada College

This testimonial among many others is like music to my ears. Let’s hope that the many BioBlitz events that occurred across the country during this milestone year and in previous years have inspired the next generation to be environmental stewards and help protect biodiversity locally, nationally and internationally.

Insect identification- Photo by Norval Staff Member

Next year, rare will be participating in City Nature Challenge, where multiple urban areas will attempt to observe the most species over multiple days. If you are interested in participating in this event, keep an eye on the rare website in the New Year or subscribe to our mailing list here if you haven’t already.

If you would like more information about the BioBlitz Canada 150 events that happened this year, please visit:

Web Site

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